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Thursday, August 23, 2018

Randi Weingarten : DeVos wants to turn government into 'arms dealer for schools' | TheHill

Teachers union boss: DeVos wants to turn government into 'arms dealer for schools' | TheHill
Teachers union boss: DeVos wants to turn government into 'arms dealer for schools'

A teachers union president on Thursday said Education Secretary Betsy DeVos wants to turn the government “into an arms dealer for schools” after a New York Times report said that DeVos is considering a plan to let states use federal funds to purchase guns for schools.
American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten said in a statement that considering using resources to supply schools with more guns “is beyond the recklessness we believed she was willing to pursue” and accused DeVos of wanting to turn schools into “armed fortresses.”
“Instead of after-school programs or counselors, programs that are critical for creating safe and welcoming schools and addressing the mental health needs of kids, DeVos wants to turn schools into armed fortresses and make kids and educators less safe,” she said. “She wants to turn the U.S. government into an arms dealer for schools. That’s insane.”
The Times reported Wednesday night that DeVos is considering whether to allow states to use federal money to buy guns for schools under the Student Support and Academic Enrichment grant program. Sources told the Times that the Education Department would approve the gun purchases with the goal of improving school safety.
Weingarten said in her statement Thursday that “even responsible gun owners have spoken out to say this is a dangerous plan.”
“Does Betsy DeVos want a kindergarten teacher interacting with her students with a holstered gun on her hip? She needs to stop acting as the lobbyist for the NRA and start acting in the interests of children, parents and the educators she has a duty to serve and protect as education secretary,” she said.
Teachers union boss: DeVos wants to turn government into 'arms dealer for schools' | TheHill

Building Community Schools Systems - Center for American Progress

Building Community Schools Systems - Center for American Progress

Building Community Schools Systems

Removing Barriers to Success in U.S. Public Schools

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“Making every school a community school has to be our collective vision. This has to be the rule rather than the exception.”1
— Former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, New York City, October 22, 2009

Introduction and summary

If the United States is ever to fulfill its promise of full equality for all citizens, its public schools need to work for all children. In the information age economy, the benefits of postsecondary educational attainment on lifetime earnings are higher than ever before.2 However, family poverty status remains the best indicator of educational attainment, and as of 2013, the majority of public school students live in or near poverty.3 U.S. public schools must improve how they serve low-income students and communities.
The community schools strategy rethinks public schools in order to provide children in low-income communities with a high-quality education. It centers public schools as hubs for communities and combines a rigorous, relevant educational program with extended learning opportunities, family and community engagement, and an infusion of social services. There are roughly 5,000 community schools in the United States today, and a social return on investment study indicated that every $1 invested in community schools affiliated with Children’s Aid in New York City delivers an additional $12 to $15 in social value. This value refers to additional revenues generated and costs avoided, as well as qualitative impact such as the value of specific programming.4
Many community schools are operated at the individual school level, often with the assistance of intermediary nonprofit organizations but with little school district involvement. However, in order to educate students in low-income communities at high levels, school districts should and can play a larger role in coordinating and supporting community schools. The community schools strategy offers districts serving low-income communities a way to overcome structural obstacles that make it more difficult to give children a high-quality education; these include poor access to physical and mental health services as well as to meaningful enrichment opportunities. District engagement can strengthen individual schools and, perhaps even more importantly, help bring this promising strategy to scale.
Leaders of large school systems are recognizing this opportunity. In 2010, then-Oakland, California, Superintendent Tony Smith announced that Oakland would transition to a full community schools district. It was one of the largest school districts to do so. About four years later, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio followed suit, committing to the creation of 100 community schools across the city.5 Overall, there are 215 community schools in New York City today.6
Indeed, in order for the community schools strategy to truly be an integral part of the nation’s school system, state governments must drive this work. New York’s 2016-17 enacted budget created a $100 million set-aside within the state’s funding formula for community schools programming in 225 school districts identified as “high-need.”7 In order to support a community schools strategy, the statewide commission charged with updating Maryland’s school finance system recommended that the state consider the number of students living in poverty when funding school districts.8 But perhaps the growth achieved by students in Kentucky best demonstrates how an aspect of the community schools strategy can be integral to educational progress. The state’s 1990 education reform law required schools serving low-income communities to have family resource and youth services centers (FRYSC), which help remove nonacademic barriers to learning. Today, Kentucky has 820 FRYSCs operating in 1,166 schools and serving 612,741 students. According to an index that combines multiple educational attainment and achievement factors, Kentucky improved its national ranking from 48th in 1990 to 33rd in 2011.9
A community schools strategy is both reasonable and feasible for school district leaders to adopt. This report details the evolution of community schools initiatives, which are increasing in number and are being led by school districts. It first explains how concentrated poverty affects the student populations of high-poverty schools in very low-income neighborhoods. The report then describes the community schools strategy, before looking at the examples of three case studies: Union Public Schools in Oklahoma, Oakland Unified School District in California, and Hartford Public Schools in Connecticut. These school districts have built and sustained community schools initiatives from the bottom-up, giving students in low-income communities the high-quality education they need to be successful. The report concludes by discussing policy recommendations that district leaders looking to implement a community schools approach should keep in mind. Ultimately, however, state governments must lead in making the community schools strategy a reality for all schools that serve low-income students. 

Concentrated poverty poses challenges for public schools

Concentrated poverty exerts powerful constraints on access to opportunity and upward mobility. Neighborhoods of concentrated poverty—often defined as areas where at least 40 percent of residents are low income—contend with high rates of unemployment, population turnover, and housing instability.10 In the aftermath of the recent recession, and amid rising income inequality, more Americans—and more American children—live in areas of concentrated poverty. The number of high-poverty census tracts has increased 50 percent since 2000, and 11 million people live in census tracts where at least 40 percent of their neighbors are low income.11 Concentrated poverty fuels racial inequality in the United States, as blacks and Latinos are more likely to live in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty than white people.12
Working in isolation, schools cannot overcome the effects of concentrated poverty. Sociologists studying neighborhood context measured the effects of four neighborhood factors: presence of residents with professional jobs, residential stability, economic deprivation, and community demographics. They found that the presence of middle-class, professional residents in a neighborhood was a stronger predictor of student achievement than students’ effort at school or their family’s choice to enroll them in a private K-12 school.13
Another study examined the math test scores of 10 million middle school students by census tract. It found that as poverty Continue reading: Building Community Schools Systems - Center for American Progress
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